PBA: Bolts snatch first semis seat
Mark Escarlote on Nov 24, 2019 06:47 PM
Meralco advanced to the semifinals after booting out Alaska.
Meralco survived Alaska’s second half fightback as the Bolts held on for a 94-84 victory Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome.
No. 2 seed Meralco didn’t need its twice-to-beat quarterfinals advantage to dispose of the Aces. Meralco will face the survivor between twice-to-beat TNT and Magnolia in the other quarters pairing.
Allen Durham flirted with a triple-double, scoring 28 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and dishing out eight assists for his fourth straight semis stint for Meralco.
“It was a really tough game. A lot of credit has to go to Alaska tonight,” said Bolts head coach Norman Black. "There were times where I thought we had control of the game, but that didn't seem to be the case because Alaska fought back and they gave us a scare in the end."
Allein Maliksi iced the game with back-to-back baskets to push the Bolts’ lead, 92-81, with just 62 ticks left in the ballgame to break the backs of the Aces, who cut its deficit to five with just five minutes left in the payoff period.
JVee Casio put the Aces within five, 77-82, off banked shot floater with 5:25 left in the game.
Maliksi had 23 markers off 7-of-11 field goal shooting including four triples while Chris Newsome had 17 points for Meralco.
Trailing by 22 in the first half, the Aces poured a 25-12 blast to breathe down the necks of the Bolts, 58-61, capped by a Simon Enciso trey with 3:21 left in the third canto.
Meralco bolted to a 13-0 start as the Bolts capitalized on Alaska’s four-minute dry spell to create a comfortable cushion.
Durham pushed Meralco’s lead to 22 points, 49-27, with 2:57 left before heading to halftime ahead, 49-33.
Casio led Alaska with 20 points, Enciso had 11 while Frank House was quiet with only 11 points in 5-of-11 field goal shooting and nine rebounds.
Meralco (94) --- Durham 28, Maliksi 23, Newsome 17, Almazan 8, Amer 6, Faundo 4, Caram 4, Quinto 2, Hodge 2, Pinto 0.
Alaska (84) --- Casio 20, Enciso 16, House 11, Manuel 9, Tratter 7, Herndon 5, Ayaay 5, Thoss 4, Ahanmisi 4, Racal 3, Galliguez 0, Brondial 0.
Quarterfinals: 29-12, 49-34, 73-63, 94-84.
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